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Wayne Packer
(deathvalleydog) - F
Order Status Frustration on 04/24/2005 16:19:53 MDT Print View

I placed an order in February and still have not received it. I was promised again that it would ship weeks ago and it has not. No one has told me there would be a further dalay or when it may ship. I have not gotten any answers to resolve this from my many communications though correct channels. Is there anyone there??

Bryan Redd
(lucylab) - F
Customer Service on 04/24/2005 16:53:57 MDT Print View

As a new business, BPL is doing many things right. Customer service, however, is something that must be done right, without exception. Because if not, regardless of how well a new business does other things, if it fails at customer service, it will indeed eventually fail as a business. I've seen too many small businesses with great products or services fail because their founders could not implement on critical business functions, including customer service. And that occurs typically because the founders become arrogant (or blind) and believe that the popularity of their product or service is all that matters and the essential business functions don't. That attitude can last for awhile, but then it always, always is replaced by dispair and disbelief as the company's apparent success changes to failure. I am hopeful that BPL will avoid such a fate. I believe its founders will do what is necessary to prevent that from happening. We'll see.

Wayne Packer
(deathvalleydog) - F
Customer Service Failures on 04/24/2005 19:45:22 MDT Print View

You are so correct. The hard reality is this: an enthusiastic customer like myself is eager to buy (I have a list of items on my wishlist) but stops ordering goods because confidence in the company has simply been lost due to a simple lack of communication. Companies move and relocate all the time - and the FIRST thing they plan for is covering their clients needs during the change. I find the continual excuses for BPL's customer service incompetence (Moving locations, disconnected DSL lines, we're busy hiking, blah, blah...)actually insulting to my intelligence. It's not like the owners of BPL are not Phd's !! Ryan - how about a response?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
BPL Cust. Srv. on 04/24/2005 20:45:12 MDT Print View

While not trying to minimize any inconvenience anyone else may have experienced, sometimes we (especially me ) must keep matters in perspective.

I write this to present, based upon my own personal experiences, a somewhat different purchasing experience. In my case...

I have placed approx. ~14 or so orders w/BPL since becoming a member (sept '04). Only two of those orders had any 'issues'. The rest were shipped promptly and had absolutely no problems associated with them.

They have worked hard for my business by shipping promptly on "In Stock" items and I have found their Cust. Srv. response time ranging from Exemplary to Adequate ('Adequate' should NOT be misconstrued to be a 'bad' word here - it's actually complimentary). We (again, esp. me) must all learn to exercise a little patience. Rarely is a purchase of this nature a 'life or death' situation.

One order had a partial delay for an item NOT "In Stock" at the time of ordering. It turned out that it was my expectation of immediate shipment that caused me consternation (this was my first order with BPL). I had mis-read the "In Stock" status by confusing similar 'Pro' and 'LIte' items. The 'Lite' version was "Out of Stock" and indicated such, but each time I checked, I was reading the 'Pro' version status which indicated 'In Stock' - as we say in aviation, 'pilot error' on my part. So, this was NOT a problem with BPL, but with me.

The second problem dealt with their move & the DSL issue. My order problem was quickly rectified once their DSL line was 'up' and they were able to read my email. They even told me to keep the incorrect item they had mistakenly sent just before their move!!

We must keep in mind that a merchant like BPL has no control over when a manufacturer ships the goods to them. BPL (and other merchants - this too very recently in my experience) only provide an estimated ship date based upon info given to them by the manufacturer. When the manufacturer fails to deliver as promised, we blame the merchant instead of the manufacturer. After all, it is the merchant we are directly dealing with, but is this really fair to the merchant?

My impression from my many purchases from BPL is that the quality of their products and cust. srv. is only exceeded by their integrity.

I have now gained a great deal of confidence in BPL and will soon be placing orders for some "larger ticket" items NOT currently in stock. I will enter these transactions knowing that 1) charges will be placed on my CC before the goods actually ship, and 2) that the goods may come later (perhaps much later) than BPL originally anticipated. Entering into these arrangements with my eyes open, so to speak, will help me keep my expectations realistic.

Oh..., BTW, for one item in that initial order which was delayed well beyond the earliest expected order fulfillment date, I found it a very simple matter to ask BPL to cancel that item and they promptly credited my CC. Only an honest merchant is willing to "let go" of my money as quickly as they were to "grab it". BPL is one of those honest merchants - IMHO.

Edited by pj on 04/25/2005 03:37:25 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Cust Serv Status on 04/24/2005 22:46:40 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for your comments. We are working to get caught up ASAP. Please give me an opportunity to offer an explanation.

First, as was previously mentioned, our support server went down and it took quite a bit of time to recover the database, which was corrupted.

Second, we lost an employee recently, who handled most of our customer support, and have been working frantically to try to replace them over the past three weeks of interviews and recruiting.

We finally extended a job offer to somebody late last night and expect them to take the job this week.

In the meantime, please rest assured of the following:

1. I am personally here at our warehouse working late with the rest of the Bozeman staff answering customer support requests that are backlogged. We have to resolve 75-150 support issues per day.

2. Every request that was submitted through our CSS email interface WILL be addressed, and we'll do everything we can to resolve your issues.

To make the process easier for us to track this many support requests, please save that ticket number of your original request, and if you would like to follow up on it, type that ticket number in the subject line. Then, when you come up in the queue, we can see your entire support history rather than treating each individual email as a separate issue.

This is an unfortunate glitch reflected as growing pains for our company, and I offer a sincere apology for the inconveniences some of you are experiencing. Hang in there, we'll figure this one out too and get back to the all-star support we want so very much to provide to our customers. Thank you all so much for sticking with us.

Best Regards,
Ryan Jordan
Publisher & Interim Customer Service Technician (!)

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Cust Serv Updates #2 on 04/25/2005 02:39:08 MDT Print View

I believe that all outstanding customer support requests have been addressed as of this morning, including those that were posted on the forums.

Last week we made the decision to invest into the development of our own customer service and support solution, with each request associated with a user's account at the Website. This way, you'll be able to log into the Website and see exactly what the status of your support issue is and who it has been assigned to. It will be a much slicker system than what is being used now, which unfortunately, requires us to be at the whim of a third-party service provider.

In addition, as mentioned before, we are adding a full time customer support director in May. As this new person comes on board, and when the new customer help center is launched, we expect to dramatically improve our response times.

Again, thanks everyone for their patience and understanding. We value BPL customers tremendously and are in no way going to forget about you; I hope you see that we value customer service and are taking sincere and meaningful steps to make it a top-notch operation.

Best,
Ryan